BETTY KELLENBERGER • Montcalm County Commissioner
Betty Kellenberger is the Montcalm County Commissioner, representing District 3, which covers an area in the southeastern corner of the county, including the City of Carson City, Village of Sheridan and Fairplain, Bushnell and Evergreen Townships.
Overseeing budgets and policies for the county is just a small portion of how Kellenberger spends her time and talents.
With a well nurtured sense of leadership, Kellenberger looks to past mentors who helped develop a sense of pride and confidence in herself when she was younger and hopes to pass that spirit onto other young women.
“I spent many years in public education and learned that everyone has a teacher who had a profound affect on their lives and a teacher who crushed their spirit,” Kellenberger said. “I wanted to be, as often as possible, the encourager and to avoid the destruction.”
In addition to serving the people of southeastern Montcalm County, Kellenberger also serves on several committees, including the finance and personal committee, alternate of collective bargaining committee and serves as chair of the law enforcement and courts committee. She also serves with parks and recreation, which seems a natural fit for the biking and hiking enthusiast. She also works for the betterment of area women through her service with Recovery after Violent Encounter, EightCAP Inc. Walk for Warmth, Alzheimer’s Walk for the Cure and as chair for the missionary committee at her church.
The motivation behind Kellenberger’s leadership is serving and making a difference in the lives of the people she represents in a county she loves. She takes the responsibility of representing her voters seriously and hopes to see Montcalm County move forward successfully and yet retain its rural charm.
All aspects of Kellenberger’s leadership are important to the success of the county, but also as a role model to women, as well. As the lone elected female commissioner, Kellenberger never felt that her gender was an issue nor a factor in getting the job done.
“I have always felt accepted, valued and included,” Kellenberger said. “I know other women have had difficulty being accepted in leadership roles, but with this group of enlightened gentlemen, I did not experience that.”
As the sole elected female county commissioner, young women in the area may look to Kellenberger as a role model and mentor. As with her other roles, Kellenberger takes to heart the type of influence she has and offers sage advice to future female leaders. It is based in humility and grace.
“Learn to say ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘I was mistaken’ and ‘thank you,’” Kellenberger said. “Recognize the contributions of others because you will always accomplish more when it is a team effort.
“Remain focused on your goal and the stumbling blocks won’t appear to be insurmountable, just another challenge,” she said.
ANDREA KRAUSE • Montcalm County prosecuting attorney
Andrea Krause, the prosecuting attorney for Montcalm County, is thankful to be working in a community where having women in leadership has been empowered and not looked down upon.
“I have been fortunate that I work in a community where women have played important roles in both professional and charitable organization,” she said. “I have been fortunate to have been accepted by my professional colleagues in the law enforcement community.”
After originally appointed prosecutor in 1998, Krause was re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. She has worked in the prosecutor’s office for the past 25 years.
Some of her duties include being the chief law enforcement officer in the county, reviewing, authorizing and prosecuting violations of felony and misdemeanor criminal laws of the State of Michigan (and county ordinances) committed inside Montcalm County. She also looks over the protection of abused and neglected children, prosecutes felony and misdemeanor juvenile delinquency offenders. She is also chairwoman of the Montcalm County Concealed Weapons Licensing Board.
Krause is involved in multiple organizations around the community.
“Whenever you do anything for your community,” Krause said, “you always hope it will have a positive or beneficial influence.”
Outside of work, Krause loves spending time with her family, coaching her son’s middle school basketball team, playing golf in a local golf league and is the president of the Women’s Action Network (WAN).
As a member of WAN, she is proud of its signature program, The Hat Rack.
“The Hat Rack is one of the most important ways that Women’s Action Network gives back to the community,” Krause said. “The Hat Rack provides hats, wigs, and scarves, free of charge, to any patient undergoing chemotherapy or suffering hair loss due to other disease or treatment.”
The Hat Rack serves both men and women and is paid through donations and WAN’s fundraising efforts.
As for how she got involved with community and public service, she credits the example set for her by her parents.
“Seeing my parents persevere through all the negativity that surrounded this issue showed me how to persevere in my own life,” she said.
Krause’s mother was a school teacher for more than 30 years while her father worked for General Motors as an office manager for 35 years.
“They had a very active role as an advocate for developmentally disabled children,” Krause said about her parents. “They were instrumental in establishing group homes in the community for adults who were developmentally disabled instead of institutionalizing them.”
For young girls looking to one day be in roles of leadership, Krause suggested to be confident in what you are doing.
“If you look confident, you will feel confident and others will take notice and listen to your message,” she said. “Tread without fear and ignore labels.”
MINDY TRAIN • Montcalm County Great Start Collaborative
Mindy Train’s goal in her community leadership is simple: “To make sure that every child in Montcalm County has a great start to life, they are healthy, eager and prepared to succeed in school and life.”
How does she do this? By being a parent liaison for Montcalm County Great Start Collaborative, where she serves on several committees. She is also the chair for YOUTHINK Montcalm. formally Drug Free Montcalm.
Train is motivated to pursue leadership roles in her community because of the children.
“They are our future and we need to provide them with the best start possible,” she said.
Working with Montcalm County Great Start Collaborative has given her the opportunity to help in providing children with a great start. One of the early child programs they have brought to Montcalm County is The Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a program that provides a free book to children from birth to 3 years of age.
Research shows that school readiness is connected to literacy skills, according to Train. The Imagination Library addresses school readiness and supports building early literacy skills through providing children access to books in their home. It also helps to build a strong, literate community, starting with its youngest members.
Literacy skills, said Train, are built through access to books in the home.
Through her work in the community, Train is hoping she is helping the community give children the good start they need.
“All parents need the support of a good community system to help themselves help their children,” she said. “Parents of young children lack the easy access to information and resources that will help them be their child’s first and most important teacher.”
During her free time, Train enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter. She also enjoys crafting, baking and gardening.
To young girls who are hoping one day to be in leadership roles, Train suggests to start as soon as possible.
“I encourage girls to get involved early,” she said, “and that if they put their mind to it, anything is possible.”
Stories were written by Daily News Community Editor Stacie Rose and intern Cassie Daszko.